The True Cost of Building a Yurt

A blog series featuring three real Rainier Yurt owners who shared how much it cost to turn a yurt into a home.


The True Cost Of Building A Yurt: Introduction

Now that you’ve decided to go with the highest quality yurt on the market, you need to concentrate on where it’s going and how you’re going to get it there!

Rainier yurt on the edge of a cliff in Panama.

Rainier yurt on the edge of a cliff in Panama.


Rainier Yurts can go just about anywhere. They are versatile, blend in with nature, withstand Mother Nature, and create shelter in all kinds of climates.

If you can get the yurt kit components to the site – you can put a yurt there!

Some of our craziest yurt installs

Yurt owner Paul brought eggs and bacon to the truck driver who drove his yurt up the logging road!

Yurt owner Paul brought eggs and bacon to the truck driver who drove his yurt up the logging road!

Last year, we did an install high above Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho.  To get there, we waited for the log bridge to be repaired because it had washed away over the winter.  Then, my customer let me know that our Rainier Install trucks wouldn’t make it up the mountain, so our team set out in one of their personal 4x4s!  They followed a hand drawn map with scribbled notes for directions that at one point said to back-up the last 3/10 of a mile because they wouldn’t be able to turn around after the last switchback!  Bob told me he was white knuckling it the whole drive up.

And just a few months ago, I sent Rainier Project Manager Michael to Panama to install five yurts.  We didn’t know until he got there that he would be high in the mountains of a rain forest – on the edge of a cliff!  He said there were 80 mph winds blowing the entire time he was there. (Just so you know, putting the roof and walls on a yurt in the winds is a nightmare in strong winds!)

Another one of my favorite stories comes from my customer, Paul, who told the truck driver transporting his Rainier Eagle Yurt and SIPS deck from Seattle to Montana to pull off at the marker for Trapper Peak and wait for daylight!  The next morning, Paul drove out to the main road at daylight with bacon, eggs and coffee!  Probably to sweeten the driver up, because the drive up the logging road was no picnic, and the road didn’t have a turn-around!

We just recently partnered with a group of architects and builders who erected a yurt on the top of the Park City Ski Resort in Utah. Rainier Yurts are famous for their ability to shed snow, withstand the wind, and provide safe shelter on a mountain side.  But in this case I’m not talking about the mountain side, I’m talking about the mountain TOP!


So, that’s why I joke that if you can get a yurt there, you can raise your yurt there 🙂


The Yurt Platform

Customer Paul's yurt platform

Customer Paul’s yurt platform

The first step is to build the platform.  Platform plans are available to download on our website.  It is important to note that we call our yurt diameters whole numbers but we round the actual diameter, so, for example, the 24 foot Rainier Yurt is actually 24’-4 7/8” in diameter and the 30’ is actually 30’ – 6”. Pay close attention to the plans!

Rainier Yurts offers Engineered Platform Plans that we will send once you make your deposit.  I highly recommend that you work from these plans and, depending on your slope and soil conditions, make adjustments as needed.

Please be sure to build your platform with the integrity and structural design we have in our plans, so that your yurt will be as stable as possible.  Some people choose to use sonotubes, while others go with pier blocks for supports.  Depending on your location, you may want pressure treated lumber or composite deck materials like Timbertech or Trex.

The key is that your platform must be built to the exact diameter of the yurt so that you can raise your yurt on the platform.  You can add any secondary decking after the yurt is up.

This is for a couple of reasons: first, you need the platform to be round so that you can attach the lattice with metal straps below the floor line.  Our Eagle yurt also uses a stainless steel pursing cable under the platform to cinch the side walls and prevent wind, bugs, and critters getting in.  The Raven yurt sidewall attaches directly to the platform as well.

The yurt lattice, as it attaches to the platform

The yurt lattice, as it attaches to the platform

Pursing cable under platform

Pursing cable under platform

While you build your platform, our Manu-Craftering team is busy preparing your handcrafted Rainier Yurt Kit. We fabricate your yurt to your desired specs, which can include upgrades such at French doors, wood clad thermal glass windows, picture windows, secondary doors – all in exactly the location you chose.

Your Custom Yurt Floorplan

We design custom floorplans so you can visualize any second doors or extra windows.

We recently sold a 33’ Eagle with 5 sets of 60” French Doors and 7 pairs of 84” x 50” picture windows!  The customer built a wraparound deck, mirroring on the outside the rooms and features on the inside.  He has an indoor kitchen and an outdoor kitchen, an indoor dining area and an outdoor dining area, an indoor living area and an outdoor living area … Literally balancing ying and yang in the design!

Introducing our “Cost of Building A Yurt” series

To better help our customers estimate the true cost of making a yurt into a functioning home, we will follow three customers who are installing their Eagle Yurts this summer.

They’ve agreed to share with us the costs for the platform, the deck, the interior walls, and loft.  We hope to capture the true cost of building a yurt, including the electrical, plumbing, fixtures, appliances and cabinetry so that we can give you a realistic estimate of what it could cost by the time you are ready to move in.

Each of the three passionate yurt owners is as unique as their yurt floor plan, and they all have common goal: to build a personal oasis within a budget, that fits their individual needs, and meets the challenges of the local climate.

GREAT RM WO ARTwebThe 33’ Vallejo yurt is in production and being artfully handcrafted.  It will ship next month.

The 30’ Eagle known as the Morgan is being installed in rugged mountains and is at the Platform Stage – going robust with a sonotube foundation, SIPS panel deck and the ultimate Rainier Yurt Snow Kit.

The Durga (a smart 27’ design) is almost completely installed. They are excited to get going on the interior, but they will need to pace themselves and buy the components as they go and as their budget allows.

I will report back throughout the summer on my wonderful new friends so you can watch their progress.

As always, Happy Yurt Dreams!




If you or someone you know would like to be added to my network of recommended installers – give me a call.

The True Cost of Building a Yurt: The Yurt Package

This is part two in our series, “The True Cost of Building a Yurt.”

The goal of this series is to help our customers calculate the cost of building a yurt from beginning to end.  Three recent yurt buyers kindly agreed to share their costs with us here on the Rainier Yurt Blog!

Three Yurt Owners, Making a Yurt a Home

The three yurts have all been raised and are being lived in – the yurt-dwellers are still finishing up their interiors.  We get to know our customers by the time they get to this stage – whether we met when they came to tour our Yurt Village or got to know them through the many phone calls while they were in the design and decision stage. They’ve asked to remain anonymous, so we’ll be referring to them by the names of the floorplans.

The Vallejo

A 33’ yurt near the Oregon coast. This outgoing guy is making sure that he doesn’t miss a beat in terms of building his yurt. This full-time residence will be complete with washer and dryer, a full kitchen, and walk in closet.  The spacious Great Room design we came up with lends itself to adding a spiral staircase for a loft addition. I know the ladies will come flocking when he gets finished!

At one point I was talking to and getting text messages from “Mr. Vallejo” more often on my cell phone than my own man!  He had LOTS of questions and really wanted to get it right the first time. And he did!

I know it will be beautiful when he gets done.

The Morgan


A 30’ yurt in Utah.  This yurt is for a beautiful young family of 6 to vacation in through all four seasons. Remote and rustic, the area lends itself to year-round activity. The family will have yurt tales to share for years — probably even for generations!

morgan-yurt-familyThe dad, a salesman by trade was shopping around when he first called Rainier Yurts.  I invited him and his wife to come to Seattle to see for themselves the quality and security of a Rainier Eagle Yurt. They did – and they were definitely impressed.  “Mr. Morgan” is another active text messenger!  It’s always a pleasure to hear from the Morgan family … in fact, he has started calling me “mom” (and for the record I am not EVEN CLOSE to being old enough to be his mother!)

Mr. Morgan called on Monday to tell me how much they love their yurt and then sent me a new family portrait.  I feel so blessed to know this wonderful family.

The Durga


A 27’ yurt in Central Oregon.  This young couple enjoys the quiet nights of bird songs and pink skies.  They love living in communion with nature, just barely separated from their surroundings by the walls of the yurt. The name “Durga” is their creation, based on my custom floor plan.

Chompa-and-Dantes-durgaHere is a message from the Durgas at the very beginning of their yurt journey:

We will talk this weekend about if we want ladder or spiral. we love having your energy in our home design!! we were just talking about a couple of things last night … about how cool it is that the people and events that led us to you, led us to you, about how now you probably know us better than a lot of people do, and in a really cool way. 

I got to know them probably more so than any other customer.   They even called me on Mother’s Day (and on Father’s Day!) and have been a bright spot on an ongoing basis.  They forged into the compostable toilet debate – and lost.  We will see great things from these two.


The Cost of a Rainier Yurt

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is “how much does it cost?” My answer always varies, because every yurt is so unique, depending on the needs of the yurt owners and the location where it’s going to be raised!

That’s why I’m so glad my new yurt friends (or I guess I could call them members of the yurt family!) have volunteered to share their costs on the blog – they all happened to choose our top-of-the-line Eagle model yurt, but with all different sizes and options.

Here are the costs of the three yurts side by side, so you can get a general idea of the price of the full yurt package.

The Vallejo The Morgan The Durga
Size & Model 33’ Eagle 30’ Eagle 27’ Eagle
Total Yurt Cost (before tax) $27,010.00 $34,664.00 $19,624.00
Roof 19 oz roof fabric
single layer insulation
19 oz roof fabric
single layer insulation
19 oz roof fabric
single layer insulation
Wall 17 oz reinforced vinyl
single layer insulation/canvas liner
17 oz reinforced vinyl
single layer insulation/canvas liner
17 oz reinforced vinyl
single layer insulation/canvas liner
Door Primary:
60” French door
Secondary: 36” full light door
60” French door 36” door
Windows 2 picture windows
2 full light plastic
3 half light plastic
2 picture windows
4 full light plastic
1 picture window
3 full light plastic
Dome Clear, opening, adjustable with hand crank Clear, opening, adjustable with
hand crank
Clear, opening, adjustable with
hand crank
Snow Load Eagle blocks
2” x 6” rafters
Eagle blocks
Perimeter posts
2” x 8” rafters
Eagle blocks
Perimeter posts
2” x 6” rafters
SIPS No Yes (6” panel) No
Upgrades Flashing for woodstove Flashing for woodstove
Awning for door
Flashing for woodstove
Ceiling fan bracket
Floorplan Vallejo Morgan Durga

Remember, you can find pricing for all the different options for all our yurt models in the price calculator!


Still to come in the series: shipping, the platform, plumbing and electrical, and the interior!




(P.S. – I’m on Twitter!  You can follow or tweet at me @theyurtgirl!)

The True Cost of Building a Yurt: Shipping

This is part three in our series, “The True Cost of Building a Yurt.”

The goal of this series is to help our customers calculate the cost of building a yurt from beginning to end.  Three of our recent yurt buyers kindly agreed to share their costs with us here on the Rainier Yurt Blog!

Getting It There

As I like to say, as long as you can get your yurt kit to the site, you can build a yurt anywhere!


The guys in our yurt shop carefully pack up all the parts, so you know that no matter how crazy it is getting there, your yurt will arrive safely.

I’ll work with you before the yurt leaves the shop to arrange the shipping – I promise, you will not lose sleep over shipping your yurt!


Yurt Shipping Costs

The Vallejo

This yurt shipped 527 miles from Seattle to Oregon for a grand total of $1,375.

The crates were $825 (remember Mr. Vallejo ordered additional doors, which meant extra crates!)

The Morgan

This yurt shipped the farthest of the three, 825 miles from Seattle to Utah.

The total shipping cost was $2,735.

The crates were $550.

The Durga

From Seattle to Oregon, this yurt was shipped 327 miles and cost $900.

The crates were $425

Yurt Crates charges:

Even if you are picking up your yurt kit WILL CALL at the Rainier Yurt manufacturing plant, we still will want to crate it. The reason for this is to “hermetically” seal all of the components inside the crate after the last QC check.  Even with the best intensions, things could get borrowed from a uncrated yurt on the loading dock (with every intension of replacing it) while it waits for it’s new owner to arrive. We are all guilty of robbing Peter to pay Paul at some point!  Well, we just said “NO!” – no more, so we close the lid when your yurt is done and relish in confidence that everything you need is in the crate(s).

What if you don’t want the crate – or it doesn’t fit in your truck? Fine – you can bring a cordless  drill  to our loading dock and open your crate and offload it into your truck – we will reuse the crate.

Smaller yurts come in one huge main yurt crate 4′ x 10′ x 6′ high and weighing between 1750 – 2400  pounds (depending on the size). Larger yurts come in the same main crate plus a dome crate and rafter crate. The dome crate is 6′-2″ x 6′-2″ x 18″ and weighs 340 pounds.

The rafter bundle will be the length of the rafters (up to 16′ long) by 26″ x 26″ and weigh up to 1550 pounds.


Shipping charges: Think of it as taking a package to the post office … the price of the shipping depends on the weight of the package and the distance it is traveling.  We have a team of experts that work on getting you the very best shipping solution. Whether you are shipping to Bali or just down the road, we work with custom brokers, carriers, freight lines to make sure that your yurt will travel safely, arrive on time and you paid a fair price for the service.

If you are close to selecting the yurt of your dreams, give us a call and we can have our Shipping Department work up a shiping estimate specifically for you.

Yours in yurts!



PS: Follow me on Facebook and twitter! @theyurtgirl

The True Cost of Building a Yurt: The Platform

This is part four in our series, “The True Cost of Building a Yurt.”

The goal of this series is to help our customers calculate the cost of building a yurt from beginning to end.  Three of our recent yurt buyers kindly agreed to share their costs with us here on the Rainier Yurt Blog!


photo-2.-platformJPG1The question I am asked most often is “how do I build the yurt platform?”

Actually, I hear “will you build it for me?” pretty often, too, but the answer to that is “no!” (Or maybe “you don’t want me building your platform!”)

Platform plans are available to download from our website, and after you’ve made a deposit on your Rainier Yurt, we’ll send you our Engineered Platform Plans.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I highly recommend that you work from these plans!

After you’ve reviewed the plans, you’ll have some decisions to make.  You have so many different options to construct the platform, so the cost really depends on what materials you choose.

The platform costs for our three featured yurt owners have a pretty wide range, but you’ll notice one thing: the bigger the platform, the more it costs!

Also, all three owners constructed the platforms themselves, so there are no labor costs reflected in any of their numbers.

The Vallejo

Total cost: $6,000


Mr. Vallejo did all the work himself on his platform. He studied our engineered platform plans and built it to perfect tolerance.

We do our best to make the instructions and drawings easy to follow assuming that most of our customers are not licensed contractors.  We know that you are handymen and women who are trying to keep costs down by doing it yourself.

It is imperative that you build the platform level and to the exact circumference specified. This allows for your yurt kit to be erected without any issues causing sagging or having the roof or walls being overly taught. The kit that we make at our production plant must fit onto your platform exactly  which is why we stress the importance of being within tolerance and following our platform drawings to the “T” … or T-square as it turns out.

The Morgan

Total cost: $4,500

This yurt buyer decided to go with our SIPS panel option.  The SIPs (or Structural Insulated Panel System) is designed and manufactured in 4 x 8 sheets of 6” thick panels that fit together on-site like a puzzle.  They are cut in our manufacturing plant to have the exact radius for your yurt installation.  We have taken the guesswork out of the equation!


SIPs yurt platforms are stronger than non-SIPs platforms, so you don’t need as much structural framing and blocking underneath.  The pre-manufacturer SIPs panel kit comes complete with the mastic glue & wood screws.  We have a set of engineered drawings that we send you with step-by-step instructions.

Of course, if you get confused or have questions I am only a phone call away.  As I like to say, you already have my cell number – it’s on my business card.  You may call me, even on the weekend, when you are erecting your yurt. I get it – that’s usually when you have “weekend warrior volunteers” to help you with your yurt install.  All I ask is that you remember the time zone difference – I’m on the West Coast!  I can’t tell you how often my cell phone rings at exactly 5:00 am on Saturday morning!   The thing is, I usually take the call anyways …

But I digress.  Back to SIPs “what exactly is a SIPs panel?” you might be asking.

When you order your yurt, you’ll choose to either build your own deck, or purchase our Structural Insulated Panels along with your yurt package. We ship them with the yurt crates. You are still responsible for the concrete footings and the under framing to support the SIPs.

SIPs panels are constructed by taking expanded (using steam) polystyrene (EPS) foam and laminating it between two sheets of oriented strand board, known at the lumber store as OSB. This energy efficient system provides an extremely strong building panel that needs little or no additional support.  This makes the yurt platform framing process faster than other building methods and enables an airtight, well-insulated yurt platform.

The basic design concept for SIPs is elegant in its simplicity and offers several advantages for yurt decks. Foremost, the platform is 100% the right diameter, the circumference is accurate for your yurt kit. It is undisputed that SIPs panels provide better overall air tightness and insulation than any other alternative yurt platform.  A 5 ½” thick core gives you a R-Value (@ 75 degrees) of R23 and at 40 degrees R24.  This is also green alternative as is improves energy efficiency up to 60%.

Click the images below to enlarge!


The Morgans chose the SIPs panel platform to combat the frigid temperatures, winds, and snow loads common where they raised their yurt.  Others choose the SIPs for seismic activity and for the ease of installing.  You can use any finish floor to on top of your SIPs.

Not including the SIPs in this calculation (it was included in the cost of the yurt in the previous blog post) the Morgan yurt, required the following materials to construct the framing to support the SIPs and yurt:

  • Sand & Gravel
  • Portland Cement
  • Bigfoot Footings
  • 12” Diameter Sonotubes
  • Steel / Rebar
  • 4×4 posts
  • Beams
  • 2×6 boards for SIPS Panels
  • 4×8 ACF Sheets ½” thick – used for finish floor- installed over sips
  • Marine grade sealer – 2 coats
  • Sander rental / sand paper

The Durga

Total cost: $2,500

building-the-platform-1500x2000First, I would like to share a nice message I recently received from the Durga Yurt:

Choosing Rainier for our yurt was one of the best decisions we have ever made.  We began the process knowing nothing about yurts, and Dana was there from the very start, answering every single question.  And it’s not just that she answered the questions, it’s that she answered them well.

Rainier’s customer service helped us turn our yurt into a home.  The yurt itself is an incredible structure, and with one look the quality of craftsmanship is both obvious and awe-inspiring.  So often I look up at our amazing roof and am so grateful we bought such a high quality product.   I am so grateful that our yurt feels safe, secure and sturdy.  And it’s beautiful.

I can’t recommend the Rainier experience enough.  Every interaction, every feature of the yurt, everything has been incredible.  When building any type of housing, it makes sense to choose a company that prioritizes BOTH a quality product and incredible service.  That combination is hard to find these days.  That combination is why I chose Rainier.


The Dugra homeowners were fortunate enough to have a small amount of recycled and donated materials which helped to keep their cost down. They too did all the work themselves – saving a lot of money on labor.


As always, feel free to call or email with any questions.

The three yurt owners are still in the process of finishing the interiors of their yurts.  We’ll give them a break from their starring roles on the yurt blog so that the next time we check in, they’ll have lots of pictures to share!




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